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Abbas' View of Israel: Land of Jesus and Mohammed, not Jews

AP refutes Abbas’ speech in the UN and notes he omitted any reference to Jewish biblical figures. Media fed up with Abbas?
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/25/2011, 5:46 PM

The Associated Press refuted Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ speech in the United Nations last Friday and noted he omitted any reference to Jewish biblical figures.  

The news agency’s report on Abbas’ speech in the United Nations indicates media may be fed up with him and reveals a dramatic reversal of decades of alleged anti-Israel reporting.

Associated Press refuted Abbas’ statements point by point and took to Abbas task for not mentioning the Jewish connection with Israel and “referring to the area as the land of Mohammed and Jesus, with no mention of any Jewish biblical figure.”

Major news agencies the past three decades have overwhelmingly painted Israel in a negative light and have promoted, sometimes intentionally, the Arab cause, usually depicting Israel as the cause of terror and “militants" as the victim.

Sunday’s AP report was markedly different and may be the beginning of the end of media support for the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas “presented a narrative that is disputed by Israel, and in at least one case, appeared to be factually incorrect,”  AP reported. It took aim at Abbas’ charges that the ”occupation" of Judea and Samaria and part of Jerusalem is "the only occupation in the world."

The news agency wrote, ”THE FACTS: The world is full of ethnic minorities that might claim to be ruled by occupiers, ranging from Tibetans living under Chinese rule to Kurds in Turkey, Basques in Spain, Chechens in Russia and Muslim separatists in Indian-ruled Kashmir.”

The Associated Press continued, point by point, to challenge Abbas in a style that previously was usually seen only in quotes by Israeli officials or Israeli nationalists.

For what may be the first time, a major news agency implied that Arab ”prisoners” are terrorists.

“THE FACTS: Abbas did not mention that most Palestinian prisoners are being held because of alleged involvement in violence against Israelis. Israel's prison service says it's holding some 6,000 'security' prisoners, many of them involved in planning or carrying out deadly attacks on civilians,” the news agency reported.

It also challenged Abbas’ claim that Gaza is part of the Palestinian Authority, telling millions of readers that Hamas took control of the region more than four years ago and that unity talks between Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas are at a standstill.

Mainstream media for years have reported or implied that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel are a result of the ”occupation,” but the Associated Press refuted Abba’s condemnation of the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign.

“THE FACTS: Abbas did not mention that the operation was launched in response to persistent rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled territory,” Associated Press said.

Perhaps even more significant, the news agency did not accept Abbas’ statement that Israel is an obstacle to peace talks.

Its report stated, “THE FACTS: The Palestinians did not accept two Israeli peace offers, in 2000 and 2008, that offered them a state in the vast majority of the territories they claim. Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly offered to launch negotiations — but refused to accept minimum outlines of a peace deal endorsed by the Palestinians and the international community. He has also not met the Palestinian condition of a settlement freeze for the duration of the talks.

Reuters was more middle-of-the road than Associated Press but at least did not fall back on its routine pro-Arab reportage. Coincidentally or not, the news agency is investigating one of its journalists who promoted the Palestinian Authority in emails.

“The gulf between Israel and the Palestinians on borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem looks unbridgeable,” Reuters wrote. It added, “And any chance of the United States leaning on its Israeli ally for concessions seems remote, with President Barack Obama heading into a bruising battle for re-election next year.”